Communicate with influence to cultivate a healthy workplace culture
Have you ever encountered a person with real presence; a person that was able to command the attention of a room with a few simple words?
Have you ever come across a person that is able to articulate a vision in a compelling way that has made you stand up and listen? Perhaps they did more than make you listen – they made you want to take action; to be involved in their idea, venture or initiative.
This person is a leader, and a good leader must be a strong communicator.
While harnessing the power of persuasion is important, becoming a strong communicator is more about connection.
Good communicators have the ability to influence emotion and motivate action. They connect with people and build rapport. They take the time to listen, understand and genuinely engage with the people around them.
If you are pretending to listen, and feigning interest in what your team members are telling you, they will see straight through you.
You cannot lead if you cannot establish relationships and trust – both of which are born from open, honest communication that makes the other person feel valued. Hence, communicating with authenticity is vital to building connections with your team.
For a leader to inspire, it’s also vital to communicate with clarity and confidence. If you are not clear about the message you are delivering, you can’t expect others to be. Refine your message and get clear about its purpose and the desired outcome, and then deliver it with confidence. Once again, if you do not believe in what you are saying this will shine through.
From purpose comes passion.
We’ve all endured lacklustre speeches and addresses, where the words might have been perfectly crafted, but the delivery failed dismally. If you are clear on the purpose of what you are saying, you believe in it and the words coming out of your mouth feel authentic to you, you’ve got the foundations for good communication. But if you want to elevate your pitch, speech or conversation with your team members to the level of outstanding communication, you need to fuel it with passion. It is here that exceptional leaders truly engage, motivate and drive change.
I personally always go back to the Five C’s of influential communication as articulated by G. Riley Mills – the co-founder of Pinnacle Performance Company and co-author of the acclaimed book, The Pin Drop Principle.
- Be Clear
- Be Concise
- Be Confident
- Be Credible
- Be Compelling
If you are able to harness these traits and communicate with influence, while building a rapport with your team, you’ve got a great platform for a strong internal communications system. A couple of other guidelines that I always refer to when I go into organisations and review their internal communications, relate more to encouraging open communication between all team members. You want to make sure that the right conversations are being had across all levels of the business. For this to happen, everyone needs to genuinely feel like their thoughts and opinions matter in the overall scheme of things. Every person with an organisation plays a vital role in the overarching success of the business, otherwise they wouldn’t be there.
To encourage free-flowing information, team members should be encouraged to:
- Address issues as they arise – don’t let them fester (even if they address them with management before going to the person / people in question);
- Approach issues in a cool, calm and collected fashion – never go in with guns blazing;
- Think about what they are going to say before saying it – this comes back to the issue of clarity and being able to communicate with confidence;
- Identify the key points they are trying to communicate and stick to them;
- Present their ideas and listen when others present theirs.
Take note of how you naturally communicate this week and of how the people around you react when you engage with them. Ask for feedback from people you trust. Don’t be self-critical or take anything to heart, just become more mindful of your interactions with people this week and be prepared to put some work into honing your communication skills.
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